Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Father John Corapi: From Addict To Evangelist
Our Sunday Visitor | January 3, 2002 | Eric Retzlaff, Our Sunday Visitor writer

Posted on 01/03/2002 3:30:10 PM PST by Lady In Blue


From Addict To Evangelist


Fr. Corapi



I would go down Rodeo Drive in my new red Ferrari and people would turn their heads and say, 'That must be somebody.' My 2,000-square-foot bedroom was larger than most people's house.

by Eric Retzlaff (Our Sunday Visitor)



ohn Corapi learned to love truth the hardway--by embracing falsehood.

Despite a 1950s Catholic elementary education, he swallowed a popular lie that could have killed him, and nearly did.

"At 14 or 15, I began to think I was the definitive interpreter of what was real," he told Our Sunday Visitor recently. "It was the attitude that you don't accept any authority outside yourself, so every individual becomes God."

Now a nationally known priest-preacher, he never tires of recalling for his audiences where that attitude led him.

All through his younger years he yearned "to be somebody," to stand out, to be noticed and admired. He got his wish, and more.

His quest led him to California during the real estate boom of the 1970s. In a few years, he became a millionaire.If "success is measured in dollars and cents," as he believed then, he had achieved "the American Dream."

"I was eating and drinking with the wealthy," said the small-town native. "I fell into fast-lane living, with fast women."

"I would go down Rodeo Drive in my new red Ferrari and people would turn their heads and say, 'That must be somebody.' My 2,000-square-foot bedroom was larger than most people's houses.

"But I was out of touch with reality. Reality is God."

How out of touch he was became apparent when an attractive young entertainer at a party introduced him to what she called her "best friend" --cocaine.

His American Dream disappeared literally up his nose as cocaine became a $10,000-a-week habit. Physically and psychologically devastated, he landed in a hospital, and for months, he said, "I didn't eat, speak or function normally. I was sick at heart because I had made it and lost it."

"I saw no way out, only absolute darkness. The only thing I wanted was death.

"I begged God to help me, but nothing happened, because I wasn't ready to give up sin," he said. The darkness lasted for three years.

After a failed comeback in real estate, he returned to his home in Hudson, N.Y. In his desperation, he began to pray the Rosary, and he turned his heart to God:

"I cried out to God, 'If you are real, and I don't know if you are, you need to rescue me now.'"

Repentant Tears

Then something happened. "I cried tears of very real repentance," said Father Corapi, who is now director of faith formation in the Diocese of Sacramento, Calif. "I fell into a deep peace, and my first real sleep in years."

Later, he made his first confession in nearly 20 years. "It seemed like the moral weight of the universe had come off me," said Father Corapi, who immediately began to feel called to the priesthood.

After a period of discernment, he was accepted into the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T.). He was ordained a priest by Pope John Paul II at St. Peter's Basilica and earned advanced degrees in Scripture and theology.

The society's founder, Father James Flanagan, felt Father Corapi was called by God to "apostolic preaching," a preaching that goes beyond evangelism to present the full doctrine of the faith.

Father Corapi sees the Blessed Mother's intercession behind his conversion and subsequent priestly work. And, today, his preaching is permeated with an urgency and intensity born of the agony he experienced and the grace he found.

"I am a no-nonsense preacher, straight to the point - it is a matter of life and death," he said. "I don't want people to go through what I went through."

"I know the slavery of sin and the liberation of grace. The truth will make you free. It's not love to allow your neighbor to skip and dance his way to perdition: misery in this life and the next."

"The damage of society's lies is everywhere apparent," he said. "I've seen 12 year-old runaways who became prostitutes and addicts, dead in garbage cans. That's what the devil wants --our kids abused and dead in garbage cans."

For Father Corapi, the way to true human liberation is clear "God sent His Son to reveal His desires to us," he said. "The one only authentic authoritative interpreter revelation is the Church. I learned the hard way that mother, the Church, is smarter than me."

Father Corapi refuses to water down the message suit Catholics who have developed what he calls "a worldly, permissive spirit" odds with Catholic doctrine and morality.

"When they're up to their neck in quicksand, should I put them in concrete?" he asked.

From 1993 until his 1995 appointment to the Sacramento diocese, he worked as an itinerant preacher in the United States and Central America. The three pillars of his preaching are the Eucharist, devotion to Mary and "uncompromising fidelity to the Holy Father and the magisterium."

And he believes his preaching gets results: "In every place I've preached, there's been overwhelming response --conversions take place. If you're honest, and you speak from the heart, people will respond to what you're saying. The full churches are the proof. People are hungering for the truth."

Popular Confessor

Typically, Father Corapi may spend between eight and 18 hours in the confessional after preaching.

People away from confession for decades are finding peace, he said. "My testimony is a powerful weapon. People aren't afraid of me. I don't have the ability to look down on anyone because of their sins."

Father Corapi estimates that 50,000 to 100,000 copies of his taped testimony have been disseminated, not to mention thousands of his other tapes. At one three-day mission in Santa Clara, Calif., alone, 2,000 tapes were sold.

He admits, however, that public speaking never has come naturally to him, and he would prefer a quiet, cloistered prayer life to preaching ("I'm a hermit at heart").

Describing himself as "a brutally shy" child, Father Corapi said, "I used to shiver in my seat, afraid the teacher would call on me." He said he's still "sick with nervousness" before he begins preaching.

Since his seminary days, Father Corapi also has been plagued by what he called "vicious migraine headaches," despite medical attention and prayers for healing.

These sometimes become so severe that he is forced to miss work, but "99 percent of the time" they do not occur during his preaching, said his religious order's administrative director, David Leatherby, who sees the headaches as "a cross" the priest is bearing.

These days, Father Corapi has been sticking closer to his home base in Sacramento, where his charge is to reach out with the fullness of the faith to 500,000 Catholics in a diocese that takes seven hours to cross by car --a mission, he admits, that is daunting.

The centerpiece of this catechesis is the preaching of a yearlong series titled "The Teaching of Jesus," based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Based on previous turnouts for Father Corapi's talks, the diocese reserved the largest space it had for the series, which were scheduled to start in January.

Where does he get the daily strength and energy he needs for his evangelistic mission? Referring to a view expressed by the renowned preacher, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Father Corapi replied simply, "Eucharistic prayer that's where the power comes from." 

For more information on Father Corapi's ministry, contact him at P.O. Box 254848, Sacramento, CA 95865- 4848

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-44 next last
July 27, 1999 TOP 100 CATHOLICS: (jul27top.htm)

DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     July 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 139


To print out entire text of Today's issue,
      In each issue as we countdown toward the new millennium, we are bringing you the countdown of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY as voted upon by the readers. We will spotlight each of the 100 Top Catholics chosen by readers over a three month period of time earlier this year. We received a total of 23,455 votes nominating 728 candidates for "Top 100 Catholics of the 20th Century" consideration. The top five vote-getters garnered 9,477 with the top ten registering a total 13,470. The Top 100 chosen received 21,603 votes or 92% of the total with those 628 candidates not making the list receiving 8% of the vote.

      Caliber-wise in the final tally, DAILY CATHOLIC readers made excellent choices and there is a good balance throughout the century list. Eight of the nine Roman Pontiffs of this century made the list except for Pope John Paul I whose pontificate lasted only one month. There are five Saints and six Blesseds as well as seven whose cause for Beatification has been introduced to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The voters selected fifteen cardinals, seven bishops, nineteen priests, seven nuns and two lay brothers. The laity is well represented with four entertainers, four politicians, six renowned secular authors, and numerous dynamic Marian luminaries that have proved their worth through the fruits they have produced by their efforts. Education checks in with several who made the list in all aspects of scholastics including two university presidents and the pro-life movement also has several organizers who made the list as well as well-known leaders of various Catholic non-profit organizations dedicated to upholding the truths of the Church.

98.    Father John Corapi, S.O.L.T.

    The 98th selection for the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY was a man who has been to the depths of the world's trappings and risen to the ethereal heights of a spiritual awakening. He is Father John A. Corapi, S.O.L.T. who the voters chose because of his magnificent teaching and ministry that has touched so many.

          Father John was born on May 20, 1947 in Hudson, New York and early in life exhibited a prowess for the good life, excelling as a gridiron star in high school, attaining a blackbelt in Karate and getting his degree in Business Administration from Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. He had it all. The Vietnam conflict was looming and so he joined the military becoming a member of the prestigious Green Berets. After discharge from the service he went to work as a CPA which eventually took him to "Sin City" - Las Vegas where he became a casino auditor and fell in with the jet set. This translated into an opportunity to plunge into real estate which made him a millionaire with all the wealth of the rich and famous as he accrued it all - from a yacht to a Ferrari to a scenic home overlooking the Pacific. As so often happens to those who seek the world, the flesh and the devil - they find it and Father John found his hellhole in Los Angeles where he became addicted to cocaine, losing everything and wandering aimlessly as a homeless person in downtown LA.

          Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the grace of God, he was miraculously saved, largely in part to the prayers of his own mother who, like Saint Monica prayed night and day for her son Saint Augustine. Like that noble Doctor of the Church, Father Corapi followed the same path and has, in a sense, become a modern day St. Augustine. He answered God's call to the priesthood and threw himself 100% into doing his part, immersing himself in studies at the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Theology at the University of Navarre in Pamplona, Spain where he obtained his Bachelor of Sacred Theology summa cum laude and later a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, also summa cum laude. It was a far cry from the old days when he would have concentrated on drinking, carousing and running with the bulls for which Pamplona is famous for. Not finished, he achieved the highest degree available from that University, obtaining a Doctor of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) and awarded a Magna cum Laude for his thesis: "The Cross of Christ in the Magisterium of John Paul II." Prior to receiving the latter degree, he also obtained a Masters in Sacred Scripture from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut, graduating with the highest honors.

          He was drawn by the sincerity, dedication and holiness of Father James Flanigan, S.O.L.T., founder of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity near Corpus Christi, in Robstown, Texas and thus mosied down to south Texas to join the community of S.O.L.T. where he was ordained a transitional deacon on May 26, 1990 by Corpus Christi's Bishop Rene Gracida after a decade of religious studies. Exactly one year from that day he was ordained a priest. But his ordination was special for he had the immense privilege of being ordained by Pope John Paul II himself at St. Peter's Basilica on May 26, 1991.

          He returned to the states largely because the Holy Father asked him to "Go back to America where I need you." His first assignment was in his own Diocese beginning as a pastoral assistant at St. Mary's Parish in Hudson, New York which had to thrill his mother, rewarding her for her faith and perseverance. He then transferred to St. Anthony's Parish near S.O.L.T. headquarters in Robstown, Texas where he became extremely interested in the plight of the Mexican migrant farm workers and ministered to them. But his real talents lay in his "Apostolic Preaching" which is to 'teach the truths of the Fatith with such authority and clarity that even the hardest hearts might be brought closer to God' and so his superiors discerned that, with this gift and his expertise on the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church would be better served by his active preaching ministry. Thus he transferred to the Diocese of Sacramento where he was welcomed by Bishop William K. Weigand and appointed Director of Catholic Faith Formation for the Diocese followed by his assignment as Director of the Diocesan Project for the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

          Though he prefers the contemplative life in his hermitage, most of the time he is on the go, preaching parish missions, retreats and conferences throughout the Western Hemisphere and touching souls as God intended. His preaching is so treasured that Mother Angelica has invited him to preach the annual retreat next month on the Solemnity of the Assumption weekend in Irondale, Alabama for her Sisters of the Eternal Word. You can learn more about Father Corapi and his ministry by going to his website at SOLT Media Ministry where you can also order his tapes and writings as well as going to the S.O.L.T. official web site maintained by Father Richard Gant, S.O.L.T. to learn more about the Order, their ministry and charisms. Father John is living proof that the spirit of St. Augustine lives today, embodied in this dynamic priest who, at only 52, has reached the heights of spirituality and an immeasurable satisfaction that had always eluded him when he lived his life without God. He wants to share his life experiences and lessons learned, as well as his learning, with others as a sign that Jesus Christ will never abandon us for "His Mercy endures forever."

July 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 139


|    Back to Graphics Front Page     Back to Text Only Front Page     |    Archives     |    What the DAILY CATHOLIC offers     |    DAILY CATHOLIC Ship Logs    |    Ports o' Call LINKS     |    Catholic Webrings    |    Catholic & World News Ticker Headlines     |    Why we NEED YOUR HELP     |    Why the DAILY CATHOLIC is FREE     |    Our Mission     |    Who we are    |    Books offered     |    Permissions     |    Top 100 Catholics of the Century    |    Enter Porthole HomePort Page    |    Port of Entry Home Page |    E-Mail Us    

1 posted on 01/03/2002 3:30:11 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
A very inspiring story.
2 posted on 01/03/2002 3:40:57 PM PST by peabers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
BUMP! for Fr. Corapi.
3 posted on 01/03/2002 3:44:39 PM PST by BlessedBeGod
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: peabers
He is a wonderful speaker - direct - honest - and challenging us - the Christians in the pew to dig deep down inside to become holy and to begin to build a Culture of Life. His audiotapes are inspiring and he's on EWTN.
4 posted on 01/03/2002 3:46:10 PM PST by victim soul
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: peabers
Have you heard him speak?! He's fantastic.Some people call him "The Voice"! He has such a big,booming voice!
5 posted on 01/03/2002 3:47:46 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
Thanks for the backgrounder. News to me. I have heard his talks on our local Mother Angelica radio station. Fr Corapi really knows how to get to the core.
6 posted on 01/03/2002 4:12:32 PM PST by ex-snook
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
I appreciate your having posted this. Happy New Year. V's wife.
7 posted on 01/03/2002 4:29:57 PM PST by ventana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
Thanks for posting. I went to the Daily Catholic...but the page seems to be from Aug. do I get updates?
Confused Poster-Dumpster
8 posted on 01/03/2002 4:31:25 PM PST by grumpster-dumpster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BlessedBeGod
Thanks for the bump!
9 posted on 01/03/2002 5:12:35 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: victim soul
He sure is!He's one of my very favorite priests.He takes no prisoners! I wish that I could get EWTN.I understand that the parent company of DISHTV has bought DIRECTV(system that I have),so if it's approved in the summer,the programs will be merged and I'll probably be able to see it!Thank God!
10 posted on 01/03/2002 5:14:48 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ex-snook
You're welcome.Mother Angelica is on your local radio station? You're lucky.We used to be able to get her on our local Catholic radio station but it tanked.I have a short-wave radio which I haven't used in awhile.I think I'll get back into using it.I think I picked Mother up on #5825.Does anybody who listens to Mother on shortwave radio know? Thanks.
11 posted on 01/03/2002 5:20:24 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: grumpster-dumpster
I'm sorry but I don't know.
12 posted on 01/03/2002 5:21:25 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: grumpster-dumpster
Why don't you try SOLT-Media.They have tapes and schedules and I think you might be able to get Father's newsletter.
13 posted on 01/03/2002 5:22:46 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ventana
And a Happy New Year's to you too,ventana!
14 posted on 01/03/2002 5:23:48 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Lady In Blue
Why don't you try SOLT-Media.

I you have a link?

Thanks...Have a Happy New Year (I can still say that...right?) :)

15 posted on 01/03/2002 5:30:05 PM PST by grumpster-dumpster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: grumpster-dumpster
SOLT Media
16 posted on 01/03/2002 5:35:23 PM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

Thanks for the link!
17 posted on 01/03/2002 5:37:12 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: grumpster-dumpster
Happy New Year!
18 posted on 01/03/2002 5:38:50 PM PST by Lady In Blue
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

Thanks for the link SMEDLEYBUTLER! Happy New Year to you and yours!
19 posted on 01/03/2002 5:41:58 PM PST by grumpster-dumpster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: peabers;lady in blue;blessedbegod;victim soul;ex-snook; ventana;grumpster-dumpster;smedleybutler...
For an outstanding free audiotape of Father Caropi's life story, go to A simply awesome tape that I can not recommend highly enough. Awesome.

Free Father Caropi Tape

20 posted on 01/03/2002 5:48:54 PM PST by IM2Phat4U
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-4041-44 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson